Technology Metals Australia Strengthens Vanadium Electrolyte Technology Partnership With LE System

“We view the downstream processing opportunities for vanadium from the MTMP as important for both the future demand of vanadium but also as key to addressing climate change,” says MD.

Technology Metals Australia Ltd - Technology Metals Australia extends and expands vanadium electrolyte technology partnership with LE System
LE System’s recently commissioned commercial-scale vanadium electrolyte plant in Namie, Fukushima.

Technology Metals Australia Ltd (ASX:TMT) has strengthened its vanadium electrolyte technology partnership with LE System Co Ltd, extending and expanding the partnership’s memorandum of understanding to develop vanadium electrolyte production capacity in Australia.

LE System is a Japanese vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) research and development company, a global leader in vanadium electrolyte technology.

Through the partnership with LE System, TMT hopes to build Australia’s first fully integrated vanadium electrolyte plant with vanadium from TMT’s Murchison Technology Metals Project (MTMP), potentially offering a competitive commercial advantage.

“Key to addressing climate change”

“We view the downstream processing opportunities for vanadium from the MTMP as important for both the future demand of vanadium but also as key to addressing climate change,” Technology Metals Australia managing director Ian Prentice said.

“TMT plans to build Australia’s first fully integrated mine to battery vanadium electrolyte plant working with an exceptional global partner, LE System, a leader in the VRFB industry.”

The technology partnership will jointly investigate the potential to develop vanadium production capacity in Australia with LE System’s proprietary technology, culminating in a feasibility study with technical support provided by LE Systems.

Energy storage market expanding rapidly

LE System CEO Junichi Sato commented: “With the utility energy storage solutions market expanding very rapidly, we recognise the importance of broadening our regional vanadium electrolyte production capacity.

“We have known TMT for some time and LE System is very pleased to be partnering with such a high-quality Australian company to support its downstream processing initiatives.”

The global market for vanadium redox batteries was estimated at US$194.2 million in the year 2020 and projected to reach a revised size of US$592.4 million by 2026, growing at a compounding annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.9% over that period.

Vanadium is a silvery grey, ductile and malleable speciality metal with a resistance to corrosion, good structural strength and stability against alkalis, acids and saltwater.

As the key component of VRFBs, it will likely become an important and sought-after metal in the near future.

Vanadium flow batteries

VRFBs are rechargeable flow batteries that uses vanadium in different oxidation states to store energy, using the unique ability of vanadium to exist in solution in four different oxidation states.

VRB’s provide an efficient storage and re-supply solution for renewable energy – being able to timeshift large amounts of previously generated energy for later use – and are suited to everything from micro-grid to large scale energy storage solutions (grid stabilisation).

Some of the unique advantages of VRFB’s are:

  • A lifespan of 20 years with a very high cycle life (up to 20,000 cycles) and no capacity loss;
  • Rapid recharge and discharge;
  • Easily scalable into large megawatt applications;
  • Excellent long-term charge retention;
  • Improved safety (non-flammable) compared to Lithium-ion batteries; and
  • Can discharge to 100% with no damage.

About the companies

LE System is one of Japan’s leading research and development companies for vanadium redox flow batteries and is on track to become a leading supplier of electrolytes to VRFB manufacturers.

Established in 2011, the company is the top electrolyte supplier in Japan and is located in Fukuoka. LE System enjoys strong relationships with the Japanese government and key Japanese enterprises throughout Japan.

LE System supports the construction of next-generation energy systems that store and efficiently use electricity to transform the global energy market.

Technology Metals Australia is focused on developing its 100% owned Murchison Technology Metals Project, comprising the Gabanintha and Yarrabubba Vanadium Projects, located south of Meekatharra in Western Australia.

The Gabanintha Vanadium Project definitive feasibility study (DFS) delivered a mining reserve of 29.6 million tonnes at 0.88% vanadium pentoxide and a pre-tax NPV8% of A$1.32 billion (US$924 million) from an initial 16-year-plus mine life.

The mineral resource at Yarrabubba is 36.6 million tonnes at 0.8% vanadium pentoxide, including a high-grade component of 19 million tonnes at 1.1%.